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Gov. Signs Bill for Online Organ-Donor Registration

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July 9, 2010

Enrolling in New York’s organ donor registry will now be much easier under a bill signed into law by Governor David Paterson, his office announced today. The Electronic Signature Act, written by Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senate Health Committee chair Thomas K. Duane, would allow potential organ donors to register online, instead of downloading a form and mailing it in.

Previously, the New York State Donate Life Registry did not allow people to register online. To register, a person had to download a form from the Department of Health website, print it, fill it out, and then mail it in.

“New York ranks 47 out of 50 states for its rate of organ, tissue and eye donations. About 108,000 people, including 9,600 New Yorkers, are on the national waiting list for organ transplants” said Ellen Hollander, Executive Director of the New York Alliance for Donation.

“I have heard from many New Yorkers on this issue, including from some whose loved ones have died or may die because the supply of organs is outpaced by the demand. The bill I have signed into law will allow online enrollment with the Donate Life Registry, making it much easier to register as a donor and thereby increasing the number of people who do so,” the governor said in a statement.

Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, said mailing in a form isn’t that difficult, but the process for signing up to donate organs and tissues should be as easy as possible. “A lot of people go online to register, print out the form, and never get around to mailing it in. Increasing anatomical gifts is a vital life-saving public health goal for the State of New York,” said Gottfried, who sponsored the Electronic Signature Act in the Assembly.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan, sponsored it in his house.

The bill passed the Assembly unanimously on April 27 and the Senate on May 12. Organizations in support of the new law include the New York Alliance for Donation, the National Kidney Foundation, the New York Center for Liver Transplantation, the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, and Donate Life America.